FEATURES Courthouse

columns, as well as a dentil cor- nice. Te opposite corner of the building holds a striking two- and-one-half story tower topped by arched openings supported by Corinthian columns. Even the side elevations feature some splendid details, with doors topped by classical pediments. Te Bradley County Court- house and County Clerk’s Office were listed on the National Reg- ister of Historic Places on Dec. 12, 1976. Te nomination con- cluded: “Constructed in 1903, the Bradley County Courthouse stands in the center of Warren’s business district. As the largest and most significant building in the county, the courthouse is an architectural and historic landmark in Bradley County.” And once a year, a fine place to enjoy some pink tomatoes.

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Among the many programs and services of the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program is the County Courthouse Restoration Grant Program. Created in 1989, this grant pro- gram has helped to extend the lives of courthouses that hold vital links to community pride and local history. Tese grants are funded through the Real Estate Transfer Tax, administered by the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council. Since the begin- ning of the program, the AHPP has awarded more than $22.9 million to 74 historic courthouses and courthouse annexes around the state for use in rehabilitating, preserv- ing and protecting these important historic resources. Since 1996, Bradley County has received 10 grants totaling $747,257 for the Bradley County Courthouse.

Arkansas Historic Preservation Program County Courthouse Restoration Grants awarded in Bradley County

FY1996 FY1997 FY1998 FY2000 FY2008 FY2009 FY2013 FY2014 FY2015 FY2016


Foundation Work Stabilize Foundation Exterior Painting

Exterior Masonry, Interior Restoration Masonry Restoration (East Elevation) Masonry Restoration Window Restoration

Stabilize Masonry and Foundation Foundation Stabilization Reconstruct South Wall

$12,000 $60,000 $24,000 $15,000 $16,400 $25,000 $57,606 $37,401 $250,000 $249,850

$747,257 Reconstruction of courthouse facade was ‘tricky’ Story by PAUL PORTER AHPP Technical Assistance Coordinator

construction of its elaborate front façade. In previous grant cycles, underpinning of the foundation took place on the east side of the building because the clay soil in the region is not stable and allows for buildings to settle un- evenly, causing numerous structural issues. As a result of the foundation underpinning in FY2012 and FY2013, the conflict- ing forces of upward and downward thrust caused the front wall of the courthouse to buckle more than five inches forward out of plumb, which was most evidenced by the warped shape of the arch-topped windows and the bowing side wall evidenced by the downspout shifting forward on its masonry anchor. Te structural damage was extensive enough that the entire

T 42

front and side walls of the center three projecting bays of the building had to be rebuilt. Making the project even more dif- ficult was the walls were constructed of unreinforced masonry, a five-wythe (a wythe is a row of brick) thick wall. Te floors and the roof of the building had to be supported while the walls

he Arkansas Historic Preservation Program (AHPP) has tackled dozens of tricky projects at county courthouses across the state, but Bradley County presented a unique challenge: a total re-

were removed. Concrete piers and pipe bracing were construct- ed to support the loads of these building elements while the brick walls were taken down. As the bricks were removed, they were cleaned, numbered and stacked for reuse in their historic locations. It was a time- consuming and tedious job, but the end results were worth the effort. Te new walls were constructed of concrete masonry units (CMU) for the sub-walls. Te dimensions of the CMU helped maintain the historic thickness of the walls. A black liquid membrane was then applied to the CMU to waterproof it. Ten the facing bricks were reinstalled in their historic locations (hence the numbering during disassembly). Metal wall studs were installed on the interior to receive the electrical work and insulation before drywall was installed. As the building was re-assembled, the historic interior base-

boards and window trim were salvaged and installed. After the masonry work was completed, the glass in the windows was installed, and the interior finished. Te total project cost was $500,000, which took two grant

cycles to fund and complete. Tis project was the most ambi- tious and expensive courthouse project since the AHPP court- house grant program’s inception in 1989. Te finished project is testament that it was a worthwhile endeavor.


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